Athens Square

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Diversity Of Queens As Experienced In Its Parks

Diversity in Queens
Photo by Maria Scazzero

New York City is known as a “melting pot” due to its diversity and the many cultures seen throughout the city. The borough of Queens is also a “melting pot” in its own right. Diversity can be seen every day in Queens’ restaurants and malls but a sundry of culture and tradition can also be seen in Queens' parks and playgrounds. If you are lucky enough to travel through Queens and explore our parks, you will find recreation and cultural activities that will take you on a journey to different areas of the globe.

We can start right over the 59th Street Bridge. Athens Square Park in Astoria is located in the heart of the Greek community. Athens Square Park has hosted various Greek inspired programming. Annually, Greek cultural organizations plan Greek festivals where you can eat gyros and baklava and relax as you listen to Greek musicians. You will also hear the sound of the Greek language as people sit in the modeled Greek amphitheater and watch traditional Greek dancing. “Opa!"

Our journey continues as we travel to Flushing Meadows Corona Park for the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival where you can do everything from eating dumplings to racing in a Dragon Boat – a cultural sport that originated in south central China more than 2,500 years ago. Once a year, over a hundred teams compete in the Annual New York Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival. Flushing Meadows Corona Park is the only park in the city that hosts this type of event. If you visit FMCP on another day you will feel like you are watching a professional South American soccer game as leagues play as competitively as the World Cup. You can also find plenty of churros, a popular dessert squeezed from a ridged tube and fried sprinkled with sugar and sometimes cinnamon.

Let’s continue to the Caribbean as we stop by Roy Wilkins Park in South Jamaica for the Annual Irie Jamboree Reggae Festival. Listen to internationally acclaimed reggae artists and move your hips to the beats of Soca, Dancehall, and Culture. Taste the native cuisine of the Caribbean as you enjoy jerk chicken and rice and peas along with Sea Moss - a popular Caribbean milkshake.

On any given day of the week you can watch an Italian Bocce Tournament at Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village or stop and take a break at Anadale Park in Rego Park, to play chess with Russian Chess Masters who are prided chess players. Phil Rizzuto Park in Richmond Hill hosts the Phagwah Parade, a large Indo-Caribbean Hindu celebration of the New Year where the women are dressed in beautiful silk saris as you would find in India. At Hoffman Park in Elmhurst, watch local Master Tai Chi martial artists wield their swords during a morning ritual mirroring the rituals seen throughout China and Hong Kong

As the journey through Queens parks comes to a close, we must thank the people that visit for offering the vast richness of culture and tradition that they bring from all over the world.

You don’t have to be an avid traveler to see the world; you can look right in your local park!

Written by Susan Friedman-Diaz and Maria Scazzero


Parks mourns the loss of City Seasonal Aide Damien Bowles, who died as a result of wounds he suffered while on duty at Douglass and DeGraw Pool at approximately 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 28.

Commissioner Benepe said, “All of us in the ‘Parks family’ are in shock at this murder. Our thoughts are with Damien’s family and we are confident the Police Department will actively pursue an investigation.”


“Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

William Jennings Bryan
(1860 - 1925)

Directions to Athens Square

  • Athens Square

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